Kovalev dazzles! Price sensational! Habs beat Bruins 4-2 on the road (?)

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    Rocket:

    Carey Price was spectacular. Tim Thomas, who allowed two soft ones, was not. Alex Kovalev dazzled and was fun to watch. A good road win for the Canadiens (even though, at times, the Habs fans in attendance made one think the game was at the Bell Centre).
    Andrei Kostitsyn and Michael Ryder played well and added to Kovy’s offense. Mikhail Grabovski and Sergei Kostitsyn were good at both ends of the rink. Max Lapierre and Tom Kostopoulos created some chances. Kostopoulos stood up for a teammate and got a black eye for his trouble. (Count me in as a converted Kosto fan!) Lapierre and Sergei K were good on the PK.

    Latendresse had his token one good play of the game. He made a smart bounce pass to Koivu on the Ryder goal, but that was to make up for his bad penalty in the first period. He was mostly invisible for the rest of the game.
    The biggest story of this game may prove to be the injury to Mike Komisarek. This would be a huge blow to the Canadiens playoff chances if he was out for an extended period of time.
    Without Komisarek, at times the defense was on their heels from the agressive Bruins forecheck. Bouillon and Gorges had a few adventures. Mark Streit moved back on defense and looked much more comfortable. He has been struggling for the past month or so as a 4th line forward. O’Byrne looked a little rusty at times but also provided some muscle especially with MK not in the game.
    I don’t often complain about the officiating but tonight it deserves mention. I think the referees are at their worst when they are inconsistent and that was certainly the case tonight. Early on, it seemed that the referees were content to let a few things go but afterwards there were some chintzy penalties called and some obvious missed calls. A potential third goal for Kovalev was saved by a hand in the crease by Wideman. Where was the penalty shot? Later, Carey Price was brushed by a Thornton elbow as he skated through the crease. Price was spun around and Wideman scored with a shot from the point. Where was the goaltender interference penalty and a disallowed goal? And where was Carbonneau? Guy whined for two days when an obvious penalty to Latendresse was called in the Ottawa game. Not a peep out of Carbo tonight when the Bruins ran his goaltender and scored on the same play.

    Pregame:

    Canadiens have won 6 consecutive games against the Bruins (9 straight going back to last season).
    O’Byrne and Lapierre in. Smolinski and Brisebois out.

    Glenn Murray presented the Silver Stick award for 1000 games.
    Grabovski is creative with the puck, is defensively responsible and is driving through checks to draw penalties. I like the way this guy is playing lately. We all know he should get the DVDs, do the Kovy workout, and add 20 lbs. over the summer. A little faceoff instruction would help too. But until then, he has been a welcome spark for the third line. Carbonneau said that he really likes what Grabs is doing with and without the puck. Tonight Jacques Demers was singing Grabovski’s praises. Who’s next? Will Habster jump on the bandwagon? There’s at least one holdout: Grumpy Brunet says that Grabovski is too soft. Speaking of soft, has Benoit watched ‘his boy’ Latendresse play?

    1st period:

    Kudos to Carbo. Guy started the 2nd line (Koivu) tonight. Great! Carbonneau hasn’t used his 3rd or 4th line at the start of the past two games!
    Price with a long lead pass to Bouillon near the blueline, up to Andrei K who feeds Plekanec for a good chance on goal. Great transition started by Price.

    Grabovski dragged down. No penalty call. Fans ‘boo’. Sounds like the game is in Montreal! Lots of Habs jerseys in the lower bowl. Chara jeered loudly by Habs fans everytime he touches the puck.

    Kostopoulos a high stick from Stuart. No call.
    Price stops Sturm’s wraparound attempt and holds firm as the Bruins bang away.

    Puck takes a funny bounce and handcuffs Price but he recovers.

    Good work by Lapierre behind the net to dig out the puck and send it in front to Kostopoulos. Good save Thomas.

    Bruins down the ice..good kick save Price. Bruins outshooting Montreal 6-2. Price looks ready for this game.
    Lazy play by Latendresse in the offensive zone results in a Habs penalty. Lats complains much too long especially when his stick was stuck in Ward’s sweater.

    On Bruins PP, Price makes a great save on a big shot from Chara at the point. Price makes a good save on another Chara shot with two Bruins screening in front. Sergei K and Lapierre good work on the PK.

    Kovalev makes a great move to get it to Plekanec who snaps his stick on a one timer.

    Solid hit by Hamrlik. Komisarek hasn’t been back since early hit in the period.
    Canadiens PP. Markov cross-ice to Koivu who slides it in front to Higgins. He redirects the puck just past the post.

    Murray shot from the circle. Good save by Price.

    Bruins have 15-6 shot advantage in the period. Carey Price was outstanding. Komisarek only played 3 minutes and is out with an injury.

    2nd period:

    More big saves by Price. He is keeping the Canadiens in this game.
    Kostopoulos steps up for Andrei K who was taken awkwardly into the boards. Kosto fights Reich. Good locker room builds team toughness.
    Big shot from Chara. Price makes the save and controls the rebound. Shots are 20-9 in favor of the Bruins.
    Kovalev spin move on Chara. Lovy’s backhand hits Thomas’ glove and then slowly trickles through his legs. Habs lead 1-0
    2 more solid saves by Price. He has been great so far.

    O’Byrne is now paired with Markov. Streit back on defense and playing with Hamrlik.
    Phantom penalty on Sergei K for hooking. On the PK, Price clears down the center of the ice for Kovalev just out of his reach. Great save Price with his glove hand.
    Lapierre sets up Streit a couple of times for short handed chances.

    Kovalev on the rush from his own blueline, splits Bruins defense Chara and Wideman and slips the puck between the pads of Thomas. That’s a highlight reel rush for Kovy and 2 soft goals given up by Thomas. Canadiens lead 2-0.

    Latendresse slow to get to the point to cover Mark Stuart. Stuart shot deflects off Gorges & Sturm who are tangling in front Price and goes in. Canadiens lead 2-1.

    Sergei K threads the needle to Higgins all alone. Great save Thomas.

    Good save by Price on Savard who sped down the wing.

    Big shot Kovalev. Rattles around five hole but saved by Thomas.

    Price two terrific saves and smothers rebound.

    After 2 periods Boston outshooting Montreal 25-19. Carey Price has been spectacular.

    3rd period:

    Streit is looking so much more comfortable back on defense.

    Penalty by Kovalev for tripping. Wideman big shot from point. Nice save Price.
    Lapierre shorthanded chance on a breakway. Big save Thomas.
    Koivu giveaway to Kobasew in the slot. Great save Price.

    Latendresse nice pass off the backboards to Koivu. Great pass to Ryder who scores. Canadiens lead 3-1.
    Kovalev shot drops behind Thomas. Wideman overs it with his hand in the crease. Quick whistle. Should have been a penalty shot.

    Kovalev nice pass to Andrei K for a goal. Habs lead 4-1.

    Grabovski draws another penalty. Stuart two minutes for tripping.

    Andrei K to Ryder. Save by Thomas. Thomas stick to the face of Andrei K. No penalty call.

    Lucic shot. Nice pad save by Price.

    Grabovski has been good defensively. Sergei K too.

    Thornton skates through crease and elbows Price. Price is spun around as Wideman shot from the point goes in. No goaltender interference call. Carbo is silent. Canadiens lead 4-2.

    Bruins pull Thomas. Canadiens can’t clear the zone. Price makes saves.
    Lapierre and Murray scrum at the end of the game.

    Bruins outshot Canadiens 36-30 overall.

    Rocket’s 3 stars:

    1. Alex Kovalev
    2. Carey Price
    3. Michael Ryder

    (photo credit: AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

    1 COMMENT

    1. Rocket,

      Great work as usual, but we will have to agree to disagree regarding Mr. Grabovski and what he brings to the table especially when games get physical like last night’s game. He wasn’t willing to go to the middle of the ice too often and his perimeter game wasn’t effective because he is too easy to rub out against the boards. I agree with you that if he improves his face-off work and can add 15-20 pounds of muscle to his frame then he’d be a more effective player…..I do love his speed and skill set but at this time of the season, I would rather see Steve Begin bring his physical, throw his body in front of shots and all out hustle in the lineup.

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